About the 1982 Toyota Dolphin RV

by Andrew Tennyson
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motorcoach,motorhome,rv image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

From the late 1970s through the early 1990s, Toyota manufactured a half-ton pickup truck chassis that was commonly used by RV builders to make miniature motor homes. National RV from Perris, California, was one such manufacturer. From 1979 through 1990, National built and sold these recreational vehicles under the Dolphin name.


In 1982, Dolphin manufactured a 20-foot model of its motor home shell for the half-ton Toyota chassis. The vehicle was available with either a four-cylinder manual or automatic transmission. The interior was laid out with a convertible settee, small kitchen, small bathroom with toilet and vanity, and a double bed above the truck cab.


All 1982 Toyota Dolphin RVs used Toyota's 22R engine, which had 96 maximum horsepower at 4,800 RPM and maximum torque of 129 pound-feet at 2,800 RPM. The engine was a four-cylinder model with fuel delivered by way of a carburetor. Though technically underpowered for the amount of weight added by the coach manufacturer, the 22R was a well-made and reliable engine that has continued to power the 1982 Dolphin nearly three decades later.

Warning: Rear Axle Problems

Before purchasing a 1982 Toyota Dolphin RV, be sure that the rear axle has been replaced, or be prepared to pay upwards of $2,000 to have the procedure done. Because at first Toyota manufactured the chassis without anticipating that it would be used to build motor homes on, the rear axle was not strong enough to support all of the weight that coach manufacturers--National RV included--built on top of it. As a result, catastrophic axle failure was possible. (The rear axle would snap.) For detailed instructions on how to tell whether your 1982 Toyota Dolphin has had the axle replacement performed, visit the link in Resources.

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